Thistle Trekking have been a great partner to us here at Come walk with me UK and I have led/supported on three of their West Highland Ways. Covid 19 has put pay to any plans we had to work together in 2020 but Davey has been busy updating their website and has asked for a few articles about local walks that their guides love! This is the one we came up with. It’s a favourite and we will be offering it as part of our core guided walk programme we are developing for 2021!
Kinder Scout has an iconic place in British outdoor history with many people seeing the eponymous trespass led by Benny Goodman in 1932 as the very start of the open access movement that has led to huge swathes of upland being available to walk on and explore. It is also a wild, rugged place and much of it’s boggy interior shows little sign of human imprint in spite of it’s situation between the major conurbations of Manchester and Sheffield. This fantastic route starts in the picturesque village of Edale by Ye Olde Nag’s Head, the ancient pub that marks the official start (or finish) of The Pennine Way.
Leaving the village behind the walk starts by crossing Grinds Brook before following the Clough named after it as it carves it’s way through ever steepening cliffs and then progresses to a simple, hands on rock, scramble past the evocatively named Fox Holes until you pop out on the edge of the plateau next to Grindslow Knoll. In Summer the slopes are adorned with Heather and Bilberry and it’s not uncommon to see Ravens tumbling and playing in the sky above the Clough. If you stop for a sandwich, a breather or a mug of tea from your flask at this point you can see the huge expanse of peaty wilderness stretching out ahead of you……or, as often as not, you can see approximately a foot in front of you as vicious winds whip low, claggy cloud across your face!!
Whatever the weather though, the walk continues across huge stone flags to the Kinder edges. The edges afford spectacular views towards the Great Ridge and it’s Iron Age fortress on Mam Tor, and down into the Edale Valley with it’s collection of tiny hamlets. The rock formations you pass; Crowden Tower, Pym Chair and Noe Stool are otherworldly shapes sculpted by the harshest of elemental forces that regularly batter the plateau. As you swing around towards the rocky bristle of the Swine’s Back, you can head North to the Trig Point at Kinder Low or head South to join The Pennine Way that has snaked it’s way out of Edale along the valley floor far below you. The descent is steep and hard on the knees particularly the section known as Jacob’s Ladder but it’s not long before you are dropping down through beautiful mature woodland, a stark contrast to the bleak moorland above, to reach Upper Booth and the farm and campsite there. The Pennine Way then leads you back towards the village centre across fields of sheep under the towering heights of Broadlee Bank Tor before emerging, conveniently, opposite the pub where the walk started and an excellent spot for a post-walk pint.